The U.S. Department of Energy just awarded $1.35 billion to the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) for the development of an experimental small modular reactor (SMR) plant. The CFPP – a subsidiary of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) – will work with private partner NuScale Power, LLC to construct this plant at the Idaho National Laboratory, beginning in 2025. The CFPP hopes to see its first module come online in 2029.
At Thursday’s presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden pledged to transition the U.S. economy “away from the oil industry.” This goal cannot be achieved without the electrification of road transport, which accounted for almost 70% of America’s oil consumption in 2019. Market forces and green government policies are accelerating this shift in the United States and around the world.
While renewables are now the fastest growing energy industry, hydrogen is following closely behind in a massive gale. The 21st century will likely witness the rise of a mega-billion hydrogen fuel industry. Countries are taking first steps – and it’s breathtaking.
The U.S. oil sector witnessed a historic day yesterday, as ExxonMobil fell behind its breakaway sister Chevron in market capitalization with $141.6 billion versus $142 billion at NYSE closing, making it America’s most valuable oil company. This is the first time since the breakup of Rockefeller's Standard Oil in 1911 that Chevron surpassed Exxon in market cap. The reshuffling comes at an unprecedented time for the global oil market, which has been battered by economic lockdowns and an oil price war in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But the real story here is not so much one of Chevron’s rise, but rather Exxon’s decline.
Libya could soon return to the world oil market in a big way, if the agreement between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in the East of the country is maintained.
Walmart, which generated $524 billion in revenue last year and employs some 2.2 million associates around the world – recently made headlines with an ambitious pledge to reach zero emissions by 2040. The multinational company also declared a commitment to restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030. Along with fellow heavyweights Apple, Amazon, Target, and Google, Walmart is building its renewable energy portfolio for corporate social responsibility and economic reasons.
This week Airbus, the biggest name in aerospace after Boeing, revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. Rather than traditional jet fuel (kerosene — an oil distillate) all three ‘ZEROe’ designs rely on hydrogen (H2) as their primary fuel source alongside batteries to power hybrid engines.
In late August, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO)'s FATIH drilling ship discovered a 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) i.e. 11 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea, within the western part of Turkey's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The reserve — identified to be within the Tuna-1 exploration zone — was discovered some 4,525 meters below the sea bottom, at near 2 km depth. News of the discovery has been welcomed in Turkey as a game-changer with regards to the country's expensive natural gas import bill.
Turkey is a primary destination for US liquefied natural gas (LNG), but a change may be over the horizon. In late August, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO)’s drilling ship FATIH discovered a 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea, within the western part of Turkey’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The west coast of the United States is ablaze. Nearly 100 wildfires burning from San Diego to Seattle have devastated communities, killed at least 14 people, incited rolling blackouts, and caused billions of dollars in damages. California has seen a record-setting 2.5 million acres burned thus far in 2020, with the cooler and damper Pacific Northwest approaching 1 million acres burned in just three days – double the amount the region loses in an average year. Oregon is in the process of an unprecedented evacuation to move 500,000 residents (10% of the state population) out of high-risk areas. Washington State has lost 1000 square miles to fires. Incredibly, six of California’s 20 worst wildfires happened in 2020, and there are still three months to go in the year.
Solar module prices in the US and around the world are plummeting, and this has far-reaching implications for humanity’s transition from the age of hydrocarbons to the age of electrification. I have repeatedly defended on these pages that renewables will win out once they become economically competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear.
Artificial intelligence is about to trigger explosive changes in our lives, work, and leisure, but few understand what the technology can do beyond Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. These are examples of virtual assistant or ‘weak AI’ technology — the most common example of AI application. But in the data-driven energy sector, sophisticated machine learning is paving the way for ‘strong AI’ to improve efficiency, forecasting, trading, and user accessibility.
Tesla and PG&E recently broke ground on a record-setting energy storage system in Moss Landing (Monterey) California that, once complete, will be the largest such installation in the world. The battery park will be able to dispatch up to 730 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy to the electrical grid at a maximum rate of 182.5 MW for up to four hours using 256 of Tesla’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) Megapacks. Tesla and PG&E will have the option to upgrade Moss Landing’s capacity to bring the system up to 1.2-gigawatt-hours which could, according to Tesla, power every home in San Francisco for six hours.
China, sensing America’s internal political difficulties amidst social justice protests and a poor COVID-19 response, is taking off the gloves: Beijing is said to be in the final stages of approving a $400 billion economic and security deal with Tehran. In addition to massive infrastructure investments, the agreement envisions closer cooperation on defense and intelligence sharing, and is rumored to include discounts for Iranian oil. If finalized, the PRC would gain massive influence in this geopolitically critical region, and simultaneously throw a lifeline to the embattled Mullah Regime.
Energy’s geopolitical and geo-economic importance means it is always at risk of becoming a pawn in wider strategic conflict. The standoff between Beijing, Washington and much of Europe—complicated by China’s ongoing crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong—is no different
Developments in the oil market over the past two months have been catastrophic. From the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the collapse of demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, historic (but ultimately unsuccessful) OPEC+ cuts, to negative prices, the prospects of a crude market rebound seem dim.
In a historic collapse, U.S. oil prices plummeted over 300% on Monday as traders unloaded their positions ahead of the May contract expiration Tuesday. Of all the unpredictable economic swings in financial markets that have occurred since the onset of the global pandemic, Monday’s oil wipeout is without a doubt the most jaw-dropping.
Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of International Market Analysis, and David Wainer, Bloomberg International government reporter, react to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press conference and the escalation with Iran.
Beijing and Moscow, which saw the first shipments of Russian natural gas to China via the much-awaited Power of Siberia pipeline. The $55 billion project is Russia’s most significant energy undertaking since the collapse of the Soviet Union, part of a larger $400 billion deal to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas (bcm) per year for 30 years.
The resource-rich and geographically strategic region of Central Asia is continuing to evolve. Once isolated and impoverished, the Central Asian republics have broken free from their Soviet legacies to pursue new economic development strategies. Growing populations, rising energy demand, rapid urbanization, and increasing productivity necessitate the build-out of “hard infrastructure”: transportation, telecommunications, and energy networks. Policymakers in Central Asia therefore need to prioritize the “soft infrastructure” policies, governance, taxes, laws and regulations, to support the construction of these critical projects.
President Donald Trump’s energy dominance narrative – fueled by the prolific production of oil and gas from America’s Shale Gale – recently got a boost from the United States Navy. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division filed a patent for a compact fusion reactor (CFR) last month, one that claims to improve upon the shortcomings of the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks CFR that uses similar “plasma confinement” technology.
The retreat of a small U.S. military contingent in Northern Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, and the perceived abandonment of America's Kurdish Marxist YPG allies, who spilled blood fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda, reverberates beyond the Middle East.
At last month’s United Nations General Assembly, the Lima Group, the U.S.-led coalition of 14 countries in the Americas seeking a solution to the Venezuela crisis, and the International Contact Group, reaffirmed its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.